In a study published in the Journal of Biomechanics, researchers sought to seek longtime assumption about wrists, while also finding gender wrist differences that could help inform and guide future treatments. “If someone has dysfunction of the wrist, it really impacts their quality of life,” explains UC Davis Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group member and first author, Brent Foster.
Using innovative MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques, the researchers scanned wrists of 18 individuals of varying ages from both genders — nine men and nine women. “Wrist conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome do disproportionately affect women, although it’s not clear why”, says Dr. Abhijit Chaudhari. “By scanning just five basic wrist movements, we were able to explain over 91 percent of wrist variation across individuals. We’re excited to use these innovative MRI and analysis methods to make a difference in managing wrist disorders.”
The innovative MRI and CT scanning techniques gave researchers the opportunity to examine live wrist bones in 3-D motion for the first time. “While each wrist bone had been studied individually before, our work really focuses on how wrist bones move and act together,” Foster said. The results showed that gender-based differences in wrist make-up do exist and that therapeutics for wrist related diseases and injuries, such as osteoarthritis and carpal-tunnel syndrome, should be carefully examined. While there is literature about scaling differences between male and female wrists, we are able to examine if bone trajectories during wrist motion differ by gender,” said Foster. “There have historically been several theories about what wrist bones do during motion, and some cadaveric studies to support them. Analysis performed based on some of these theories illustrates sex differences, but that based on others doesn’t.”